A promising therapy for people with certain cancers is now available in Chicago’s northern suburbs at the community hospital level. NorthShore University HealthSystem began treating patients with CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor) cell therapy in March 2023.
Since 2017, the revolutionary treatment has primarily been available at academic medical centers.
David L. Grinblatt, MD, hematologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem, calls CAR-T therapy “an exciting treatment option” that uses people’s own immune system to fight relapsed lymphoma or myeloma, when other treatments have failed.
Could CAR-T therapy become a front-line treatment for lymphoma? “It’s very possible,” Grinblatt says.
Currently, people stay in the hospital for up to two weeks after treatment to monitor for nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and neurological toxicities.
Such was the case for Michael Jackson, 74, of Skokie. Five years ago, Jackson was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent five months of chemotherapy. When the cancer returned in 2022, he had more chemotherapy. After a PET scan showed that some cancer still remained, his physician at NorthShore’s Kellogg Cancer Center suggested CAR-T therapy. “I considered going to a university, but I trusted her,” Jackson says. That trust let him stay close to home.
And Jackson’s PET scan in May revealed good news: total remission.